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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice #15

Love Bliss
Love Bliss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some words/phrases can induce fairly specific responses in readers. As writers, we all know this, but do we use the power of emotion in our work?

For these few weeks, I’m looking at something subjective: how to choose between emotional and intellectual words for effect. You won’t always agree with me, of course; you’re writers. But, hopefully, my suggestions will get the thought processes going.

In this series I’m looking at the difference between words that seem intellectual as opposed to those that evoke a more emotional response. How you use them is obviously up to you. The point is that the alternatives have the same, or very similar, meanings, but their effect upon the reader can be markedly different. I’ve made some suggestions here, but I’m sure you can think of others.

Intellectual: Contact You
Emotional: Write To You

‘We will contact you in writing to confirm the termination of your employment.’

‘I’ll write to you everyday, so you’ll know where I am and what I’m doing whilst we’re apart.’

Intellectual: Famine
Emotional: Hunger

The likelihood of devastating famine in much of Africa during the coming decades is increased by the effects of Global climate change.

‘I feel such hunger for you, for your body, for your touch, for your utter surrender to my desire.’

Intellectual: Ill
Emotional: Sick

‘The man is ill; that much is obvious. I expect we will have to terminate his employment, since we cannot afford to have idle hands on the payroll.’


‘I’m sick with longing for you. My every waking hour is haunted by my want of you.’

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